Maritime bus service a hit with traveling public

Journal Pioneer Staff
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SUMMERSIDE – The Maritimes new regional bus service has already proven to be a hit with the travelling public.

Passengers board one of the Maritime Bus vehicles in Truro on Dec. 1, the day the company started. At one point, there were three buses parked outside the Via Rail station on the Esplanade, which is now also serving as a bus terminal. The service replaced Acadian Lines Bus, which used to have a depot on Willow Street.

Tri-Maritime Bus Network went into service Dec. 1, and has recorded record numbers of passengers, said owner Mike Cassidy.

“My record day was last Sunday, Jan 6,” Cassidy said. “We did 1,100 passengers in our total network. I have certainly determined in the last six weeks that there is a need for a passenger/parcel bus network in the Maritimes. No question.”

He said on Boxing Day the service handled a record 950 passengers.

“That record was broken on Sunday,” he said. “All of the students are back to their colleges and their campuses and now it’s a matter of what did we learn and how do we make the bus network system more efficient – less wait times, less delays and that’s what we’re doing today.”

Cassidy said the response to the service is encouraging.

“Summerside was another big surprise to me,” he said. “We’re very, very pleased with the number of passengers in and out of Summerside. And appreciate the fact that we had no historical trends, travel patterns or ridership numbers. So everything was brand new to me. Very impressed with when we pick up, how we pick up, the numbers we have, where everybody is going and coming from.”

But even with the successes over the past six weeks, Cassidy said there is room for improvement.

“It all comes down to scheduling,” he said. “I had too many travel times, got a little too aggressive, had too many options and it became a little complicated. When one bus gets late, it’s just a domino effect, the second, third, fourth, fifth bus can get late. That’s not what we want. My schedule was too tight and now I have to have more flexibility, more turn-around time which will allow us to have less frustrated customers, drivers and terminal agency staff.”

Cassidy said some former Acadian lines employees are working the front counter and the sales desk with Tri-Maritime and tell him they are as busy as they have ever been.

“We don’t have actual figures but we have their expressions where (they say) ‘we’re just as busy today as what we were on a New Year’s Eve ever,’” he said. “We’re getting that feedback. We’re getting the encouragement that we are just as busy. And I know that there’s a market need. I worked the terminal every day since we started. You’re listening, you’re talking to customers and there is no question there is a need for this service in the Maritime region. Now I just have to get more efficient. It has to be cost-controlled. We have to market and drive ridership.”

Organizations: Tri-Maritime Bus Network

Geographic location: Maritime, Summerside

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Recent comments

  • Brenda from Brampton Ontario
    May 28, 2013 - 11:20

    On Feb 21st 2013 my Mother (77) yrs a friend of ours and myself was travelling from Halifax Airport to Antigonish. We were to catch the 11:35 am bus. when we arrived at the airport one of the airport staff called the bus company in Halifax to let them know that there were 3 more passangers which made 10 passengers all together waiting for the bus to arrive. We made our way to the bus shelter at the end of the airport at 11:25 which has no heat and windows which are open all year round. This is Feburary ??? why can they not close the windows in such cold weather. We did not see the bus at 11:40 we waiting until 12;00 and then decided to call the bus company to find out when the bus was coming. I was told the bus is running 45 mins late due to having to wait for a connecting bus in Halifax, I then asked when can we expect the bus to arrive, I was told it is coming it should be there in 10 to 15 mins with much hesitation. We are now starting to get cold from standing in the shelter with no heat and the windows open. We did not want to leave the shelter for fear of the bus coming and we may miss it. We waiting another 25 mins and still no bus. I called again and was told the same thing but this time the gentleman was quite rude by saying THE BUS IS COMING....I then said to the gentleman I was told that 25 mins ago that the bus would be there in 10 to 15 mins. The gentleman was quite short with me and said " It is coming" I asked if the bus driver was able to be contacted by cell phone or radio and I was told no.. It is now 12;45 and still no bus. My mother my friend and myself are now starting to feel the cold and decided to head back to the airport terminal. Once inside I told the airport staff whom called the bus company oringally that I called the bus company and they said they were running late. The staff member said to me O I thought you were gone we did not see you. I stated "How could you have seen us when we were out in the shelter waiting in the cold. If you know the bus was running late why did you not send someone to to shelter to let us know along with one other gentleman whom was waiting also. The lady I was speaking to did not know what to say. We had to end up calling someone to come from Antigonhish to make the drive to come and get us. No sooner I made the call and hung up I saw the bus coming. By the time we got our bags together and I started to walk up to the shelter to ask the drive to wait for my Mom and our friend he was gone....I will say that as meny times as I have taken Acadian Lines over the years from the airport to Antigonish I have never had such an experience. I will be very hesitant in taking the Martime Bus in future. I would just like to add that I find the pricing is very high for the distance from Halifax Airport to Antigonish.

  • House Keys
    January 25, 2013 - 18:36

    Yes, we do need the bus-lines in the Maritimes majorly, but the schedules don't line up. I traveled on the Maritime Bus lines twice since they opened and on December 14th I was forty-minutes late getting from Halifax to Truro, and two-hours late getting from Truro to New Glasgow. At least I was able to have a nice chat with a lovely lady.

  • Nelly
    January 21, 2013 - 14:22

    I also was glad that a new company took over when Acadien quit. Recognizing that there will be some start-up challenges, I think it will be critical to success of this venture that the schedule be reliable. I used it for travel from Hfx Airport on New Year's Eve to New Glasgow and was bitterly disappointed (and cold) when it arrived an hour late to pick up about 10 passengers. I wanted to use it for return to the airport, but did not trust it, despite having lots of time to 'spare' had it been reasonably on time. Sure enough, it did leave NG over a half hour late, and with change in Truro, it was just too risky a connection, so I went by car. I do hope the 'kinks' can be worked out, but reputation will determine ultimate success, at least with this willing, but wary, passenger.

  • susannugent
    January 11, 2013 - 22:40

    today it was one half hour late leaving halifax and 45 minutes late getting into new glasgow. not good service and not even an apology

  • Jennifer Boyce
    January 11, 2013 - 13:16

    As the parent of a university student, studying in New Brunswick, we were thrilled to have the bus service reinstated and with a better, more convenient schedule. She took the new bus service home after her exams, in December, without incident and becuase of installation of an evening run, she didn' t have to wait until the next day to come home.

  • Marg
    January 10, 2013 - 18:13

    Oh I like the idea of a Maine bus.

  • reg
    January 10, 2013 - 15:38

    I've heard Mr. Cassidy on talk radio, and he sounds like a progressive forward looking business owner. I'm sure there would be some bugs with a company taking over this large a route. I would hope there will be service through the south shore and valley to Yarmouth, as well as a stop in Springhill. I'm sure this will be worked out within a reasonable time.

  • maritimerwatcher
    January 10, 2013 - 12:33

    please bring earlier service to the airport( Halifax) lets make this work for Maritimers ~

  • a maritime traveller
    January 10, 2013 - 11:07

    I Have to disagree with this article. When I travelled from Moncton and Charlottetown this holiday season, there were a lot of screw-ups with this company. They sent my tote back to Moncton. they nearly left people stranded. While there were some helpful people with the company. There were others who were downright rude and did not take responsibility for their actions.

  • Thank you
    January 10, 2013 - 10:58

    Thank you to Maritime Bus. As a legallly blind person, i rely on bus transportation to places like Halifax. I was lost when Acadian Lines went out of business. And shame on the government for allowing an important part of infrastructure to fold. I believe it can be profitable with the right planning. So glad to see it for persons of disabliity, college students and people who cannot afford transportation.

  • Johnny smoke
    January 10, 2013 - 10:25

    I recently traveled from Halifax on this bus service, at each stop the driver of this particular bus got out to have a smoke, and the bus did not continue on it's way until he finished his cigarette. Just wondering if it is the smoke breaks or the schedule that takes priority here. By the way the trip from Halifax took 3-1/2 hours I can drive it in less than half of that time. Maybe in future I will.

    • Verna Weeks
      January 10, 2013 - 12:13

      The smoking thing really p. me off. It was said that when the "No smoking policies" came into effect that production would go down, then return to normal. Well it did not and will not. Yet this bus driver is carting the butts (pardone the pun of all these people across the Maritimes. He/She damn well deservies the privelege of a smoke break. If he/she gets you where you are going in 1 piece, you should be more thankful. I would not be carrying the sorry butts of such disreprectful, unappreciable people to anywhere! It is, in fact a HUGE responsibility!

  • Maine traveler
    January 10, 2013 - 09:16

    I am very pleased that there is bus service again but would love to see a bus go to bangor maine. I remember in the past a bus would go down on a saturday and return on a sunday. I would love to see the feed back on that possibility

    • Shopping in Maine
      January 13, 2013 - 01:58

      It would be so nice for there to be a bus service to Maine, as I would love to take my mother, but cannot drive due to health reasons. I am sure many others in our area would love that opportunity, as well!! Let's get more feedback on that one...:)